CIFF: Mike’s Preview of The Chicago International Film FestivalBy
This year’s Chicago International Film Festival has a wide array of quality films to choose from. We are going to see as many as possible to get you the earliest scoop on what’s worth seeing. Many of them should release in theaters during Oscar season, so this festival is one of the last chances for them to garner festival buzz.
There are a few high profile films making their way to the Windy City. There are also some lower profile ones that seem interesting to us. Below is the list of films we have tickets to and plan on reviewing with a trailer and quick reason why it interests us:
Take Me Home
Why We’re Seeing It: A romantic comedy after my own heart. I’ve always been a fan of romantic films that twist the genre a bit and present the same old story in a new way. Sam Jaeger and Amber Jaeger (husband and wife in real life) star in this self-discovery road trip movie that seems like a nice blend of comedy and romance. Check out the trailer below.
Why We’re Seeing It: Lars von Trier may be a nut job, but some of the greatest art has come from people like him. I’m a huge fan of Antichrist and the trailer to Melancholia is mesmerizing. Couple this with huge buzz on Kirsten Dunst’s performance and an apocalyptic premise, this is one of my most anticipated artsy releases this year. Check out the trailer below.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Why We’re Seeing It: Huge buzz coming from this film. Elizabeth Olsen stars as Martha in what appears to be an intense drama about paranoia and personal tragedy. It feels genuine and real in the trailer, but it’s the dream aspect that makes this a highlight of the festival for me. Check out the trailer below.
Why We’re Seeing It: A British film that seems to bring an intensity about it that I’ve been missing in theaters lately. The trailer is very well done and the pull quotes within drew me into the film as well. It looks heartbreaking, but somehow also uplifting.
The Bully Project
Why We’re Seeing It: A documentary I’ve been dying to see for quite some time now. The trailer is devastating. It follows certain kids troubled by bullies and truly exposes the way they are affected by it. Thank the movie gods this isn’t some MTV True Life episode. This appears to be done with good intentions and great taste. Check out the trailer below.
Why We’re Seeing It: Another film from the UK that shows us the grungy intensity of hardcore Brits. Put bluntly, these are the kinds of British movies I love – a bit of comedy and a lot of violence. I don’t know much about the film, but the trailer does generate enough intrigue for me to give it a shot. Check out the trailer below.
Why We’re Seeing It: A friend of mine from film school made this film and I know many of the people involved. I know this film has a chance to be seen by many, but it’s a story of a man that nobody knows about. It’s a documentary about the personal impact that Hulk Hogan had on a young man’s life. It’s like the happy version of a Hoarder episode with a little more heart and soul. Check out the trailer below.
Why We’re Seeing It: I had no idea about this film until I saw it on the festival docket. Holy shit it looks awesome. – like some Eyes Wide Shut interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. The trailer sets a tone for the film that draws you in to an enigmatic and mysterious erotic thriller.
Why We’re Seeing It: I know nothing about this film. It’s my blind pick of the festival. All I know is that I tend to like Ben Foster’s performances and he stars in this film of an American abroad stuck in what appears to be a hairy situation. Check out the trailer below.
Why We’re Seeing It: A last-minute addition to the festival was a welcome surprise to me. Critics have been praising The Descendants as a potential Oscar hopeful. George Clooney directs the film and we hope it is an uplifting tale of finding oneself in the face of adversity. There’s definitely an aura of humor in there, but its subtlety is its strength. Check out the trailer below.
There will be many more films I see, but for now that is my ion-theater list. Whatever films I can grab a screener copy of and watch in time will get a review as well. As of now, those will mostly be low-profile films that nobody has heard of. If they are interesting I will be sure to share them with you.
Stay tuned for the reviews. I will get them done as soon as I can. They should pop up on the site throughout the week.
Which Films Intrigue You The Most?